This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of James Lumley

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


, whose early home was Yorkshire, England, where he was born in 1824, came to the United States in 1846, and to this State in 1857. He is now a resident of Sadorus, where he carries on a trade in agricultural implements and also conducts a butcher-shop, supplying the best grades of meat to the citizens of the village, and first-class farming implements to the agriculturists in the surrounding townships. His straightforward business methods and his reliability as a man and a citizen, have secured him the confidence of large numbers of friends and patrons.

Our subject is the eldest child of a family of seven born to Charles and Catherine (GATES) LUMLEY, who were natives of England. When he was nine years of age, his parents changed their location, going from the northern to the western part of Yorkshire, where the boy engaged in a wool-combing factory, and followed this occupation for a period of twelve years, in the meantime also learning the buther’s trade, at which he employed himself when business was dull in the other. In 1846, when twenty-two years of age, he decided to make a change, and seeing no prospect of advancement in the land of his birth, resolved to emigrate to America, and try the experiment of living under another system of government. Accordingly, he set sail from Liverpool on the 28th of February, and after a tedious voyage of forty-one days arrived in Boston, Mass. He had already been married, in August of the previous year, to Miss Harriet, daughter of William FIRTH, and also a native of Yorkshire, England.

Three months after his arrival in this country, Mr. L., sent for his wife. She joined him near Lowell, at a place called Ballard Vale, where they lived for about a year, and thence removed to West Chelmsford, in Middlesex County, where our subject followed wool-combing for a time and then worked in the regular factory, until his earnings enabled him to buy a small house and lot. Desiring, however, to go into business for himself, he soon afterward sold his little property, and invested in a butcher’s outfit, setting up business and meeting with fair success. About this time his attention was attracted by the glowing accounts of the West, in regard to the desirability of a homestead on the prairies of Illinois, and in 1857 he disposed of his interests in the Bay State and came to this county, purchasing a quarter section of railroad land in Sadorus Township. He afterward sold back eighty acres of this to the railroad and occupied his time in improving the balance, afterward adding to it forty acres, and now owns a fine farm of 120 acres, with good buildings, and all other modern appliances.

In 1852 Mr. Lumley met with a sad affliction in the death of his wife, Harriet, who left him with two children—Mary and Joseph. They are still living, Mary being the wife of Samuel GOODNIGHT, who is engaged in farming in the southern part of the State. Joseph is unmarried, and is a clerk in Kansas. In 1853 our subject was married to Miss Hannah O’LEARY, a native of Ireland, who had emigrated to the United States about a year previous to her marriage with Mr. Lumley. Of this union there have been born four children: The eldest son, James, married Miss Sarah MARTIN, of this county, and carried on farming in Chautauqua County, Kan., but is at present living in Colorado. Alice, the wife of William MARTIN, lives with her husband on a farm near West Cliff, Col.; Ellen married Ander N. TABLER, and they occupy the farm of our subject in Sadorus Township; Annie is the wife of David M. WILLIAMS, a farmer of Colfax Township.

In the spring of 1869, Mr. Lumley having spent a good many years in persistent labor on the farm, established his present business in the village of Sadorus. For this purpose he had purchased property and put up buildings, while still retaining his residence in the country, until the spring of 1885. He then purchased a home in the village, to which he moved, and now gives his entire attention to his town trade, his farm in the meanwhile being carried on by his son-in-law, Ander N. Tabler.

After becoming a naturalized citizen, and acquainting himself with the different theories regarding American government, Mr. Lumley decided that his tastes and sympathies inclined to Republican principles. He cast his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont, nd since that time has been a stanch adherent of the Republican party. From the start he distinguished himself as a capable business man and conscientious citizen, and was early selected for the minor offices of his township, serving as Road commissioner and Justice of the Peace,a nd gaining the good-will of his fellow-townsment by encouraging the various enterprises which were set on foot, and had for their object the general welfare of the community.

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